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More Ecuador Scam Risk

Natural Danger – Inner Fraud

See how you can be deceived in Ecuador.

I depend a lot on coincidence in choosing what thoughts to share in these messages so a note from a reader about yesterday’s message on scams and fraud quickly caught my attention.


Minkow back in jail.

That reader, a retired fraud detective wrote:   Gary,  You need to know that Minkow was sent back to Prison last week on another major fraud case.  It’s been covered in the LA Times for months.  I believe Minkow was sent back to prison about 6 days ago.  Good article, however, on your part.

Fraud – a constant alert for consumers, especially us “baby boomers.”

 “As through this world I’ve rambled,
 I’ve seen lots of funny men.
 Some rob you with a six-gun,
 And others with a Fountain Pen.”
 (Author Unknown or Unrecalled)

The coincidence is that the data on Minkow was a copy from an old message I sent to a reader over five years ago.  I had not thought about nor heard about Minkow for over half a decade… but other events led me to write about his book on how to combat fraud yesterday… just a week after he was sent to jail for… fraud… again. 

I did not know.

This coincidence really fortified the main theme of yesterday’s message… “Take Care in All things”.

A July 22, 2011 Los Angeles Times article by E. Scott Reckard “Barry Minkow is sentenced to five years in prison” tells the tale and gives an a really valuable message.  Here is an excerpt:  The ex-con who reinvented himself as a pastor and crime fighter was given the maximum sentence on the single count of conspiracy to which he had pleaded guilty. He was also ordered to pay $583 million in restitution to the home builder Lennar Corp. for attacks that battered its stock price.

Barry Minkow is headed back to prison to serve a five-year sentence for securities fraud, but the ex-con who reinvented himself as a San Diego minister and crime fighter was looking on the bright side of his situation.

In his plea bargain to a single count of conspiracy, Minkow admitted that his falsehood-filled attacks on Lennar Corp. had caused the home builder to lose $583 million in stock market value. Because that amount was so huge, he might have been sentenced to 30 years or more had he gone to trial and been convicted instead of pleading guilty.

Minkow burst onto the national stage in the 1980s as the head of ZZZZ Best, a carpet and furniture cleaning company he started as a teenager in his parents’ garage in Reseda. He was widely hailed as a young genius until it was revealed that ZZZZ Best was built on credit-card fraud and fabricated work orders.

Minkow, who testified that mobsters had infiltrated his company, was convicted in 1988 of 57 fraud counts. He spent more than seven years in prison for defrauding investors, but after his release he reinvented himself as the chief minister at Community Bible Church in San Diego and head of his own Fraud Discovery Institute on the side.

In his latter role, he became closely watched by stock traders, especially short sellers, the speculative investors who place bets on declining stock prices.

He pleaded guilty in May to conspiring to torpedo the share price of Lennar by publicly denouncing the builder as “a financial crime in progress” — an attack he said was intended to force the Miami home builder to cough up cash and stock to settle a long and bitter legal battle with its partner in a private golf community in Rancho Santa Fe.

Minkow said he used the Internet and his contacts at the FBI to recklessly spread falsehoods about Lennar. In pleading guilty, he also acknowledged placing illegal bets himself that Lennar’s share price would fall based on confidential information — that the FBI had launched an investigation of the company based on his own allegations.

The really important message is “Buyers beware in all things and of all things… especially ourselves”. 

There are scams everywhere and the risks of encountering fraud grow in an increasingly changing world.  The greatest tool a con artist has is our own greed.

Take for example a reader at this site recently reported an example in Ecuador of a so called broker  who sold a 7 acre property on a deserted beach with no road to it no power, no water, for $170,000. Then the buyer discovered that the seller on wanted $30,000 for 40 acres!  The broker kept 33 acres and pocketed $140,000.   Then the broker proceeded to sell other acreage for many more dollars.

$170,000 for 7 acres of beach property seems like an incredible… too good to be true… price compared to USA beach property prices.

This is why we recommend to always rent first when moving to a new country. Buy later and always use an independent attorney to help complete the sale.   One is at risk enough when you are familiar with prices, customs and contacts.

New environments increase our risks!  

Yet Minko’s disaster reminds us of even more… this was a guy who had so much going for him… who after years in jail… knew and should have learned.   Yet the world is so full of temptation.  The Western material world… the advertising…. the marketing aims at making us want more and more… faster and faster in so many ways… every day.

Merri receives a daily message from Abraham-Hicks Publications and occasionally passes them onto me.

On the same day as this Minkow coincidence she shared how to fight these pressures to be led astray. It says:  

Be easy about it. Don’t rush into things. Savor them more. Make more plans and be more deliberate and specific about the plans that you are making.

The greatest asset con artists have is our desire to get something for nothing… to get rich quickly… to make problems go away instantly… to  take advantage of something that is almost too good to be true.   The reason we have this desire is because… we are not happy with what we are doing.  This can lead us to being unrealistic and make us vulnerable.

Be easy. Don’t rush. Savor the process more.  Worry about the immediate result less. Make more plans. Be more deliberate.

A wise investment manager at Jyske Bank once outlined what to do during market panic.

  • Turn on the auto pilot and normally add to your position.
  • Do not panic.
  • Do not let feelings influence you too much.
  • Ask your wife!
  • Do not count on extra ordinary returns. Be realistic.
  • Add some restructuring stories to your portfolio.
  • Know that a period of high returns will be followed by a period of low returns.
  • Do not underexpose yourself for the long term.
  • Risk is your friend or alibi for expecting higher returns.
Follow these tips and you’ll reduce your risk of being deceived by fraud.


Learn more about Safe Ecuador at our International Business Seminar October 7-9. 2011.

2013-2014 Super Thinking + Spanish – Writing to Sell – Business & Investing Course Schedule

Schedule 2013-2014  Super Thinking + Spanish  – Writing to Sell – Investing & Business Courses.

Here are photos I took of Mt. Dora…

mt-dora-images tags:


mt-dora-images tags:

its annual arts festival. 


June 21-22-23  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 5-6-7  Super Thinking + Spanish  Sarasota, Florida  Single $699  /  Couple $899  (Teacher Mark Frakes)

July 12-13-14 Super Thinking + Spanish Kelowna, BC, Canada  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teachers Shawn & Suzanne Bandick)

August 16-17-18  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

August 31-September 1-2  Super Thinking Writer’s Camp  West Jefferson, NC  (Gary & Merri Scott)

September 27-28-29  Super Thinking + Spanish  St. Charles, MO  Single $699  /  Couple $899 (Teacher Mark Frakes)

October 4-5-6  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  West Jefferson, NC  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999 (Gary & Merri Scott)

November 15-16-17   Super Thinking + Writer’s Camp  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott) 

November 21-22-23  Super Thinking +Spanish  Puerto Aventuras, Mexico Single $699/Couple $899 (Teachers Suzanne & Shawn Bandick)


January 10-11-12   Super Thinking + Spanish  Mt. Dora, Florida  (Gary & Merri Scott)

February 14-15-16  Super Thinking International Investing & Business Seminar  Mt. Dora, Florida  

Enroll here $799.   Couple $999  (Gary & Merri Scott)

For information more contact Cheri Hall at cheri@garyascott.com

Attend all seminars and courses and more FREE or at a discount as an International club member.  See details here.



Read the LA Times article Barry Minkow is sentenced to five years in prison